Inspiring creativity through family

Instrumental in the Chinati Foundation collaborative arts projects are intern Matt Reiner, Director of Education Michael Roach, and lead educator Molly Bondy. 

Engaging in collaborative art projects with the family is a great way to connect with kids as they create and express themselves as great artists have done in the past. And there’s no better place to make that connection than at Marfa’s own Chinati Foundation, a contemporary arts museum founded by minimalist artist Donald Judd.

The museum is excited to bring a series of free workshops this month to Tri-County families and children eager to make hands on creations.

“We are super excited!” exclaimed Lead Educator Molly Bondy. “This is something that we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. With COVID we were not able to do programs in person for a long time, so we are thrilled to have people back at the museum.”

The first arts event, crafted by art intern Matt Reiner, kicked off on July 17. Participants created their own collage-based paintings in response to Judd’s works in concrete that are prevalent throughout the Chinati grounds.

Bondy, who moved to Marfa from New York in 2019, works with Director of Education Michael Roach on arts programs for students in grades K-12 who attend the Marfa, Alpine, Fort Davis, Terlingua, Presidio, and Valentine school districts.

We plan programs for students to come to the museum, and we do an art project with them that can last a few hours, or be a multi-day project, or even a multi-week project,” said Bondy. “One way our program is unique is that we spend a lot of time on actually having the students or participants making their own art.”

Recently, the Chinati Foundation was awarded a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts that allows the museum to invite veterans, active military, and first-time museum visitors to these programs at no cost. Border Patrol agents and their families are encouraged to participate, especially because of the Foundation’s proximity to the Border Patrol station in Marfa, its neighbor across the street.

“The Border Patrol station is right up against the Chinati property line, and we don’t get a lot of families from there,” said Bondy. “Since there is a large number of Border Patrol agents who are military veterans, we’re reaching out to them to let them feel this is their museum as much as anyone else’s here in Marfa and the Tri-County. It’s a demographic we want to reach out to and work with.”

Roach, who is in his eighth year as education director, indicated that works from 14 artists are shown in over 340 acres at the Chinati grounds, and almost all of the artwork is permanent. Roach said there was no doubt that enabling children to create their own art pieces is inextricably linked to their overall development, just like their involvement in athletics, music, or other endeavors.  

“By giving the child the opportunity to make art in a space where there is encouragement and the adults are as excited about art as the students, how can you not set that path to success?” he said. “Making art is inherently part of being human. We all make things. I think that is what makes the world exciting and wonderful.”

To sign up for the July 24 and July 31 workshops, email Molly Bondy at mbondy@chinati.org, or call 432-729-4362, ext. 223.

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